Skip to Content

Surviving Colonization

11 replies [Last post]
Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017

The Idea:

Players are the chiefs of native tribes on a fictional island.

After the first few turns of the game, colonists arrive on your shores.

The game is not necessarily about repelling the colonists, rather it is about surviving the inevitable colonization. Survival is defined as having a certain benchmark in three different categories when the game ends:

- Political: Retaining control over your lands and people.
- Cultural: Keeping cultural practices/traditions and resisting assimilation.
- Physical: Not having your population literally wiped out.

If a player meets the benchmark values in all three of these categories when the the game ends, their tribe is considered to have "survived" colonization, and they win the game. However, it is possible for more than one player to win - it is also possible for there to be no winners.

Thus, the game is semi-cooperative because when it would benefit you to work together, you will, but when it would benefit you to do something that screws over someone else, you will do this also.

Questions:

Does the theme interest you? How do you feel about having to meet a certain benchmark in the three categories to survive?

Do you think the semi-coop aspect would work?

How does this compare to "Spirit Island"?

polyobsessive
polyobsessive's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2015
Yes! :)

Hi Ark1t3kt!

Yes, that theme interests me very much. I've actually been working on a game more-or-less along those lines for a while now. If you're interested, I have blogged about my progress here: https://firsttakesomedice.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Invaded

Your objectives and victory conditions look sensible. You may find that you have difficulty with some play groups on a semi-coop game, as many people just don't get on with the concept, but I think it is possible to have an excellent semi-coop if done right, with the right group. (My game isn't, by the way!)

There seems to be a load of discussion about games focussed on the receiving end of colonialism lately, which has to be a good thing, so I think we'll be seeing a load more titles using the theme. Aside from Spirit Island (which sounds like a very heavy coop), I know of Martin Wallace's Moa, which is on its way in a few months, and I think I came across another at some point, but can't remember what it was off the top of my head. They all seem to be approaching the theme from a different direction, so I'm sure there is plenty of space for others.

So, is your post just an idea so far? Or have you made something?

Good luck!

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Great Minds Think Alike!

Your game looks awesome, and I'll definitely spend some time reading your blog. In the meantime, do you mind giving me a brief summary of where it's at right now?

So far mine's just a concept with a very rudimentary early prototype... maybe we can bounce some ideas off each other!

polyobsessive
polyobsessive's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2015
Invaded

Thanks for the kind comments.

I think Invaded has now stabilised into more-or-less its "final" shape, but I still need to tidy up a lot of the details and balance, but I could probably tinker with that for ever.

The colonial power is now controlled by the players (early iterations had a card AI) so that on your turn you take an action for yourself and one (constrained by cards) for the colonials. As a result, everyone has influence over the activities of the colonial power, but they always tend to do their main activity of expanding, building forts, and demanding goods.

The big thing I need to get tidied and balanced is what I am now calling "strategy cards", which give a tweak to how you play the game (usually some sort of bonus or special action) and an additional way of scoring at the end of the game. Each player may claim one of these during the game. My problem with these is making them simple enough for everyone to understand them easily at the start of the game, to make them interesting enough to take, and make them balanced enough that there aren't any that are always strong or weak.

I'm on iteration 13 of the prototype at the moment and working on getting the rulebook tidied up. If I manage to make good enough progress over the next couple of weeks I'm hoping to submit the game to the Hippodice contest, but if not, no problem, I'll just keep working on it. I'm taking the game to a playtesting meetup again this weekend, so hopefully that will help me focus on the main problems.

Are you willing to share some more about your game?

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Cool, allowing players to

Cool, allowing players to take turns controlling the colonists seems like a really slick way to handle a complex AI. If you ever develop a print-and-play prototype let me know!

Although my game is in the very early stages, a few interesting ideas have emerged:

Each tribe could have a "culture track" which determines a number of things as well as victory. For example, I'm thinking about representing your tribe's traditional knowledge with "way cards". (Cards that give you unique bonuses or special abilities.) When you drop bellow certain thresholds on your "culture track" you have to choose one of your "way cards" and discard it. (It could potentially be recovered.)

I also have an idea for a "treaty deck" of cards, one of which is flipped face-up when the colonists arrive. This represents some kind of deal/compromise the colonists wish to make with your tribe. Ex: "Give us some of your land". If you choose to accept the treaty you will inevitably compromise one of your win conditions, but your tribe's relationship with the colonists will improve. If you refuse the treaty, the colonists will become more and more hostile and may even declare war.

I also want to allow players to be able to trade with the colonists... but then this increases their wealth and they can expand faster and more forcefully.

Lastly, the native tribes could adopt some of the technologies of the colonists - at the expense of their culture.

These are a few of my brainstormed ideas... more coming soon!

polyobsessive
polyobsessive's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2015
Treaties

That treaties idea sounds really good, I'd like to see that developed. The tech sounds good too.

I abstracted that sort of thing out a long way so that the colonials make resource demands, and if you fulfill one of their demands, you gain a "favour". The main reason to hold favours is that if the colonials attack, you can spend a favour to make them leave you alone. Your way sounds like it adds a lot more flavour and variety.

I kinda have a PnP prototype, but it's pretty bitty at the moment. I should soon have something a bit more ready to go. Thanks for your interest in taking a look -- some blind testing would really be appreciated!

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Always happy to playtest cool

Always happy to playtest cool ideas!

Maybe someday you can return the favour! :)

polyobsessive
polyobsessive's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2015
Thanks

Ark1t3kt wrote:
Maybe someday you can return the favour! :)

Absolutely! :)

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Update

Update:

Came up with an idea for the core action mechanic of the game. It involves a rondel, on which are represented the four seasons. There are tiles/cards that correspond to each season and are randomly used to fill the corresponding action spaces on the rondel. Thus, certain actions will be more available in summer than in winter, etc...

This could also be used to represent time: After 3 years (movements around the rondel) the game ends?

I had another interesting idea for the rondel just now: Maybe possible actions are revealed as players progress around the rondel, representing the uncertainty of what the year will bring.

Questions:

What are your opinions on rondels in general? Do you think that this mechanic would suit the theme of the game?

Would having different seasons within the rondel be interesting?

Does the fact that the rondel is revealed gradually seem interesting/fun or too random to you?

Rick L
Rick L's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/22/2016
The seasonal rondel sounds

The seasonal rondel sounds like a cool thematic element, especially if your native groups are fairly agricultural.

Nothing wrong with some random input from the rondel in my opinion either - as your player choices come after that reveal, players should have options available to work with that input, making the best strategic decisions they can come up with.

polyobsessive
polyobsessive's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2015
Sounds good. Try it.

Rondels can be a great way to manage complexity and constrain player choices, which can focus a game on a comparatively simple core decision. No reason you couldn't use a rondel in this theme. Give it a try.

"Different seasons within the rondel" could work, but not quite sure what you mean. In general though, having different seasons could be used to add an interesting shape to the game, with certain activities easier at some points and maybe impossible at others. Give it a try.

Hidden bits of the rondel revealed during play... Could be an interesting idea. Give it a try.

In summary, all this stuff could contribute to a great game, but you won't find out by talking about it! ;)

Ark1t3kt
Ark1t3kt's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/12/2017
Will do!

Will do!

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut